Slacklining—the sport of walking across a length of nylon webbing strung between two anchor points—is growing in popularity. Substyles include highlining (at least 50 feet above the ground) and waterlining (across bodies of water), but treading even a backyard line takes strength, endurance, and Zen-like concentration. Here are the best spots in the U.S. to test your slacklining skills.
Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park, California
Why You Should Go: Some 40 years after rock climbers invented slacklining in Yosemite, the Valley is still the sport’s cultural hub.
The Area: “Most people have probably seen photos of highliners on El Capitan, but there are routes on Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, Upper Cathedral Spire, and pretty much every other piece of rock in Yosemite Valley,” says Mason Earle, a Black Diamond climber.
Notable Lines: The first successful slackline attempt took place in 1985, from the Yosemite massif to Lost Arrow Spire. Across El Capitan Meadow, the 177-foot-line at the top of Taft Point is a modern classic.
The Scene: Rock climbers began surfing Camp 4’s parking lot chains in the 1960s, and progressed to nylon a decade later. “The slacklining community’s roots go deep in Yosemite,” says Earle. “Rangers are upping highlining restrictions, but the Valley will always have the largest slacklining community in the country.”
When to Go: Spring through fall; some locations may close seasonally for raptor nesting.
Logistics: Snag a spot in Camp 4, or book a room at one of the hotels in the Valley.